In the vein of Randall Munroe's WHAT IF? meets Brian Green's Elegant Universe, a writer from Space.com investigates what's really out there.
We've all asked ourselves the question. It's impossible to look up at the stars and NOT think about it: Are we alone in the universe? Books, movies and television shows proliferate that attempt to answer this question and explore it.
In Out There, Space.com senior writer Dr. Michael Wall treats that question as merely the beginning, touching off a wild ride of exploration into the final frontier. He considers, for instance, the myriad of questions that would arise once we do discover life beyond Earth (an eventuality which, top NASA officials told Wall, is only drawing closer).
What would the first aliens we meet look like? Would they be little green men or mere microbes? Would they be found on a planet in our own solar system or orbiting a star far, far away? Would they intend to harm us, and if so, how might they do it? And might they already have visited?
is arranged in a simple question-and-answer format. The answers are delivered in Dr. Wall's informal but informative style, which mixes in a healthy dose of humor and pop culture to make big ideas easier to swallow. Dr. Wall covers questions far beyond alien life, venturing into astronomy, physics, and the practical realities of what long-term life might be like for we mere humans in outer space, such as the idea of lunar colonies, and even economic implications.
Readers won't just be hearing from Dr. Wall. As a longtime science journalist--whose work at Space.com is syndicated in outlets from Scientific American to Fox News--he has assembled an impressive array of contacts to provide expert commentary. From a former NASA chief scientist to leading science educators like Neil DeGrasse Tyson and Bill Nye to would-be space traveler Elon Musk, Dr. Wall shares the insights of some of the leading lights in space exploration today, and shows how the next space age might be brighter than ever.
"This look at some of the key questions of the cosmos and human interactions--it is brain food with flair, and nearly impossible to put down--what a fun ride this book is!"
Alan Stern, principal investigator of NASA's New Horizons Pluto mission and former head of the space agency's Science Mission Directorate
"Perhaps since the dawn of language, humankind's most profound quest has been to answer the question-'Are we alone?' Mr. Wall's book takes us on an insightful, engaging, and at times humorous journey through the cosmos, and explains why we may now be on the verge of answering that question!"
Bill Diamond, president and CEO of the SETI Institute.